The University of Michigan Board of Regents announced a 3.5 percent increase in University President Mark Schlissel’s annual salary as part of the president’s yearly evaluation. This is the president’s fourth pay raise, and brings his pay from $820,000 to over $850,000.
The Regents are also set to renew Schlissel’s contract for another five years, as he enters the fifth year of his current contract, though the measure was not voted on Tuesday. His starting salary upon hiring in 2014 was $750,000.
The last four years of Schlissel’s term have been marked by campus unrest on issues of racial disparities, sexual misconduct and political turmoil following the 2016 presidential election. On the administrative side, however, the Regents continue to shower Schlissel with glowing performance reviews.
“Our conclusion, President Schlissel is knocking the ball out of the park,” Regent Chair Andrew Richner, R, said. “From the outside, I don’t think we appreciate just how demanding and complex the job of the University of Michigan president is. I know this president spends 24/7 on his responsibilities.”
“I have the most challenging, but the best job in all of higher education,” Schlissel said.
Schlissel’s salary outstrips the average public university executive’s pay of $521,000, according to 2016 data from the Chronicle of Higher Education. His pay raises do track with rising executive compensation around the country, which increased by about 5 percent overall last year.
University alum McKenna Kozeny criticized the pay raise as a poor use of funds in light of the growing student debt.
“The Go Blue Guarantee is a great start, but higher education is still extremely unaffordable for so many people,” Kozeny wrote in an email interview.
Kozeny also criticized Schlissel being provided housing on campus while students have to pay high rents to live off-campus. According to U.S. Census data, the median rent in Ann Arbor has increased by 14 percent from 2010 to 2015. The current median rent is approximately $1,075 per month.